Aircraft Type Photo
BELOW: K9795, the 9th production Mk I Supermarine Spitfire, with 19 Squadron Royal Air Force, showing the wooden, two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller, early 'unblown' canopy and 'wraparound' windscreen without the bulletproof glass plate. The original style of aerial mast is also fitted. [Wikipedia]
Photo: 1938 RAF official photographer.
BELOW: A later variant of the Spitfire. This is a Supermarine Spitfire XVI at Duxford, in September 2006.
Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk IA / L1059
Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Spit".
Designed by R J Mitchell, the elliptical-winged Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most capable and effective fighters of WWII. It was produced in a number of variants, and with different power plants and armaments. The Spitfire was considered a high performing, agile and stable fighter platform. Ultimately, 20,000 Spitfires and Sea Spitfires (or 'Seafires'; the naval variant) were produced.
The Spitfire first entered service with the RAF at Duxford in August, 1938, and many subsequent variants were produced.
During the Battle of Britain, Mk I Spitfires were outnumbered by Hawker Hurricanes. Nevertheless, the Spitfires were usually considered as the most deadly aircraft in the skies above Britain.
Early versions of the Spitfire (Mark I) were equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. (Griffon engines were fitted to later Marks.)
BELOW: RAF Spitfires in flight
Aircraft Historical Background and Accident Details
(The information / photos in the following Panels was kindly provided by Alan Leishman)
'On 14 February 1941 Charlie Whyte was working at the pithead at Oakerdykes when he heard a Spitfire circling low overhead. The sky was overcast and there was a low mist. He was in the Observer Corps and his training enabled him to identify the plane. It was not hard to tell from the noise that it was in trouble, as the engine was clearly back-firing.
At 10.50am several people in the nearby village of Slamannan heard the plane scream in its rapid descent. It impacted the ground near the farm buildings at Hillhead, not far from the Observer Post and only the tail was left sticking out. The ammunition went off in every direction and there was a terrific noise.
Charlie Finlay was out in one of the fields ploughing with two horses. It was with considerable effort that he was able to hold them back. The plane had caught fire and the auxiliary fire brigade from Slamannan rushed to the scene, only to find that they had left their hoses behind.
Later that day the RAF came and extricated the body of Sgt J Silvester. A guard in the field kept everyone back on the Pirnie Lodge Road and only after the wreckage had been cleared away was it possible to see the large hole in the park itself. Between them, the villagers gleaned all traces of the plane from the field.' (via Geoff Bailey)
Aircraft Pilot Information
The pilot who died in this accident was:
(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website.)
BELOW: John Silvester.
Photo: Andrew Long via Alan Thomson.
Recovery and Memorial Service Photos
BELOW: Smaller items recovered.
Photo: A Leishman.
BELOW: Preparing to lift the propeller.
Photo: Stevie Spink.
On the 16th of August 2014 members of the Silvester family attended a service involving the unveiling of a memorial to John Silvester at Slamannan. The event was organised by Dumfries and Galloway Museum member Stevie Spink.
BELOW: Memorial using the recovered prop.
Photo: Gordon Smith.
BELOW: Memorial plaque.
Photo: Gordon Smith.
BELOW: Presentation of pilots goggles, found at the crash site, by Alan Leishman to John Silvester's family.
Photo: Gordon Smith.
Air Crash Sites-Scotland
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Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 14 Feb 1941
Hillhead Farm, Slamannan
Nearest town or village:
Nearest large town:
Falkirk or Cumbernauld.
OS Grid Ref: N/A
GPS Ref. N/A
Present Condition: Recovered from site. Some small parts at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum (see photos below).
Registration or Serial: L1059
Operator: RAF (58 OTU)
Operating Station: RAF Grangemouth
Station Location: Grangemouth, Falkirk / East Stirlingshire.
Current Station Status:
Closed 1955. Reverted to Grangemouth Refinery (Ineos).
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Hillhead Farm, Slamannan, Falkirk